Water like Jell-O

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA: Sunsets are gorgeous here. I read someplace this little town was a favourite of abdicated King cum Duke Edward VIII and his American divorcée wife Wallis Simpson. The little town is indeed the pearl of the Adriatic, despite having been bombed and shelled in the 1991 Siege of Dubrovnik. Walking along the fortress walls surrounding the city you see the red clay rooftops, it is easy to see the newer, brighter coloured roofs, all replaced from the damage.

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA: I cannot swim. It’s not something I ever learned to do as a child. No one took me to a pond and threw me in. I never went to swim school on the weekends, nor was it something I felt like I was missing out on. This could be because I come from a long line of non-swimmers. My mother, my grandmother, and I would bet every great grandmother on the Japanese side going back.

Funny enough, I hadn’t realised swimming was something you had to learn. Each summer our Wednesday afternoons were occupied with trips to the country club for “kids day”. It was something the school I attended managed to set up for us. This must have been my second or third grade. All my friends were there, changed into their swimsuits, as did I. Giggling and racing to get into the water I followed them through the hall and into the giant indoor swimming pool. Everyone jumped in. All my friends splashed and frolicked while I sank. It hadn’t occurred to me there was something to know, some trick to keeping your head above water.

It was all pretty quick, I was pulled out by an adult or perhaps a bigger kid, lifted onto the poolside I coughed a few times and threw up all the water I had inhaled. What happened? I was still confused by it all. To make matters worse I was not allowed back in the water, even the shallow side. I was sent back to the locker room to get dressed and would have to sit the rest of the day out next to the chaperone. When I reached the dressing room the lights were out, so I reached up to the light switch and worse than a near drowning experience I was electrocuted to the floor, reeling from the double whammy shock.  Continue reading “Water like Jell-O”

Hammam: A ritual in bathing

ISTANBUL, TURKEY: With very few exceptions, I usually take a trip in January to start my year. This year’s birthday trip was to Istanbul, Turkey.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY: With very few exceptions, I usually take a trip in January to start my year. The first month is less about New Years for me as it is an actual new year. I am a January baby, born on the same day as Robert E. Lee, Dolly Parton, and Edgar Allen Poe. This year’s birthday trip was to Istanbul, Turkey.

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Blackpool: it’s as bad as its name

Can a place be as bad as its name? Well, sadly, and I really hate confirming this, but the answer is yes; Blackpool is such a place.

BLACKPOOL, UK: Can a place be as bad as its name? Well, sadly, and I really hate confirming this, but the answer is yes; Blackpool is such a place.

I had my doubts initially. The UK is full of odd places, places that I actually like which co-workers and flatmates say, “ooo, stay away from there!” I’ve been here long enough now to pick up on the prejudices, it must be a northwest sort of thing. Places like Liverpool, Wigan or Bolton, with accents that make those from the south of England cringe. When it came to Blackpool, I was intrigued. What sort of place is named Black – and then – pool? What is it like? Who lives here? What do they do? Just how did it come to be?

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Cocktails in Copenhagen

What can I tell you about Copenhagen that a tour book hasn’t already mentioned?

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: What can I tell you about Copenhagen that a tour book hasn’t already mentioned? The two things that come to mind, one of which might actually be on the pages of a Lonely Planet or Rough Guides already: 1) it is tres expensive, 2) there are some really good cocktails being made there. Continue reading “Cocktails in Copenhagen”